Will the Art World Ever Be the Same? A Brief Oral History of a Tumultuous Year

One morning this spring, amid pandemic and protest, artist Eric Fischl looked up at the sky and saw only blue. The jet-plane contrails of engine exhaust that typically striate the atmosphere above his home near Sag Harbor, New York, were gone. He wondered: “Will people want to go back to the smog?”

Society has long looked to artists to be our oracles, to see and shape the tumult of history into forms that make poignant sense in hindsight. A little over halfway through 2020, few expect anything to go back to exactly how it…

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